18 May 2024, 21:41
By Furniture News May 07, 2013

IFFINA – Indonesia’s rising star

Following his visits to the key shows in Malaysia and Singapore in March, Furniture News’ Paul Farley decided to see what Indonesia’s manufacturers had to offer at the International Furniture & Craft Fair Indonesia (IFFINA) …

IFFINA just keeps getting better and better – that’s what I hear from both exhibitors and visitors, and it’s nice to see a show moving forward so dramatically. A change of ownership to professional fair organiser Radyatama three years ago injected new life and professionalism into the event, which takes strides towards greater international appeal each year.

IFFINA’s identity is reflective of its locale. Indonesia’s manufacturers, which form the bulk of the show, are among the masters of outdoor furniture production. As such, the entire show has a suitably exotic feel, a garden of teak and rattan that evokes hot summer evenings outdoors as much as warm, natural interiors.

While the front of the fair is dominated by furniture, it soon recedes into a plethora of handicraft and accessory providers – perhaps a reflection of the show’s roots.

Much of the product is the result of cultural cross-pollenation – French influences are particularly prevalent in the higher-end offerings. While the nation boasts a large number of skilled craftsmen proficient in carving and metalcraft, it has also become an international focus for advanced woodworking techniques – in part due to the country’s relatively open trading policy which grants international businesses a high degree of factory ownership.

“The entire show has a suitably exotic feel, a garden of teak and rattan that evokes hot summer evenings outdoors as much as warm, natural interiors”

Despite these trading freedoms becoming somewhat curtailed over the last year, the promise of independence has made Indonesia a hub for creative, ambitious manufacturers, and these in turn have become an important part of the islands’ economy. The product quality is high, meaning that some of the UK’s finest names come here to shop for manufacturers.

IFFINA may be a small fair – comprising just 520 exhibitors across 18,000 sqm of Jakarta’s JIExpo – but it is growing quickly, up from 397 in 2012. In association with the Indonesian Furniture Industry and Handicraft Association (ASMINDO), the fair ensures depth of visitor experience by offering seminars and product presentations – even an enjoyable evening of entertainment for buyers and exhibitors, complete with awards for the best stands – albeit on a smaller scale than the region’s better-established events.

All of this bodes well for its international appeal. Radyatama reports an attendance of over 4000 international visitors, from 120 countries, to this year’s show – on top of 11,000 locals. For a relatively young event, standing out as a worthwhile destination within the busy March exhibition circuit is no simple matter – IFFINA accomplishes this, and more.

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